• Examining the Relationship Between Sleep and Athletic Performance

      Hopple, Christine J.; Houston-Wilson, Cathy; Reinisch, Ben (2020-12-21)
      Sleep has been regarded in recent years as an important factor in the improvement of athletic performance. The distinction, however, between what is necessary for a normative population and what is optimal for an elite athlete population relative to both quality and quantity of sleep is not clear. Therefore, this synthesis reviewed literature concerning how sleep can impact performance, the areas of performance it most impacts and the methods of improving sleep for athletes, in order to aid their performance. Data was collected primarily using the sport-centered SPORTDiscus database through SUNY Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library database, EBSCO. Key words were utilized in order to develop a critical mass of 10 articles used to answer the following five research questions: (a) Does the number of hours of sleep impact performance, (b) Does the quality of the amount of sleep obtained impact performance, (c) What physiological aspects of athletic performance does sleep most impact, (d) What cognitive aspects of athletic performance does sleep most impact, and (e) What are practical applications for athletes to improve their sleep habits? Results indicate that an increase in both number of hours and quality of sleep improve athletic performance. The area’s most positively affected are health, avoiding injury and illness, increasing recovery, sports specific competitive advantages, reaction time, and mood while, surprisingly, anaerobic power was not significantly affected. Further research in the subject needs to increase the number of subjects, as well as create a consensus recommendation for the number of hours of sleep athletes need and the way that sleep quality is measured in order to generalize the findings.